An EU-funded team of researchers has set out to provide mathematicians with their very own periodic table ... of shapes. Researchers at Imperial College London (ICL) in the UK are collaborating with colleagues in Australia, Japan and the Russian Federation to identify the basic building blocks of all possible shapes in the universe across three, four and five dimensions, and analyse how these components relate to each other.
Project leader Alessio Corti from ICL's Department of Mathematics, explains the objectives: ''The periodic table is one of the most important tools in chemistry. It lists the atoms from which everything else is made, and explains their chemical properties. Our work aims to do the same thing for three-, four- and five-dimensional shapes - to create a directory that lists all the geometric building blocks and breaks down each one's properties using relatively simple equations.''